If you’re the type of person to constantly forget your password for various apps and accounts, and even doors and appliances, then you’d probably welcome any new technology that would make it easier for you to lock and unlock all these digital things that you use. Scientists from the University of Washington are developing a tech wherein your body can be used as a conduit for secure passwords in order to unlock whatever needs unlocking. All you would need is a consumer device that has fingerprint sensors and/or touchpads.
Several computer scientists and electrical engineers are working on this project which they hope one day will be able to reach the consumer level. They are using benign, low-frequency transmissions that are being generated by things like fingerprint sensors and touchpads to be able to send these secure passwords through some of our body parts. Fingerprint sensors have long been used as an input device but this time around, it can be “re-purposed to send out information that is confined to the body,” according to the senior author of the project, Shyam Gollakota.
The on-body transmissions can be used to unlock devices that will touch some part of your body like a smart door or a medical device or a smartphone, tablet, or any device that can be unlocked by a password. They say that this will be a more secure way of transmitting your passwords and all you would need is the signals being generated from the fingerprint sensors. It involves, for example, touching the doorknob and the touching the sensor on your phone. This can be done sitting, standing, etc as long as it can get a strong signal from your body.
Of course this is only the first step in this long process. It will be faster actually if the fingerprint sensor manufacturers would give the researchers access to their software, so here’s hoping they pay attention to this project.